Re: "a" or "the" ?? (Mark 15.39)

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Thu Mar 26 1998 - 04:25:42 EST

Jim West wrote;

>>This is a marvelous discussion. Did the centurion consider Jesus to
>>be A, or B? And the answer might be NEITHER!! The lack of an article
>>does indeed seem to argue for the sarcastic 'neither' view, which then
>>makes the 'debate' so evenly balanced. He would then be saying in
>>English idiom a scathing "Son of God indeed!"
>>George Blaisdell
>Lets all be careful lest we assume that Mark is reporting actual historical
>events. Otherwise soon we will have an entire apocryphal gospel on the look
>on the centurion's face and what color clothing he had on, as well as what
>he had for breakfast. His tone of voice is immaterial, for Mark is not
>interested in the Roman, only in what he says. That Mark would have him
>say, in an insulting way, that Jesus was "son of god" (sneer supplied by our
>apocryphal gospelists) goes against the very purpose of the Gospel.
>Interpretation should keep in mind such things as authorial intent or the
>text becomes subject rather than object.
But Mark does record other ironic "witnesses" to Christ. Perhaps the
demons for one. But also in Mark 12:14, Those sent from the Pharisees say
"We know . . . truly, you teach the way of God." There can be no doubt in
the text that the statement is pretensious on their part but it fits so
nicely with Mark's emphasis on "the way" beginning in 1:2-3 and continuing
thru/out the gospel till this point. Surely a bit of irony that Mark can
use even the sneers of his enemies to "witness" to him.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359

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